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America's Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2021

Press Release

For Immediate Release
September 22, 2021

For more information contact:
Traci Cook
Children's Forum Staff Director
Phone: (301) 458-4082
Email: cot6@cdc.gov

Release of America's Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2021
New report features latest federal statistics on the well-being of children and families in the United States: The rates of adolescent depression increase and the percentage of children living in households with housing problems decreases.

The America's Children 2021 full report updates all 41 indicators of well-being across seven domains: family and social environment, economic circumstances, health care, physical environment and safety, behavior, education, and health.

This year's publication highlights an increase in the prevalence of adolescent depression. In 2019, 16% of youth ages 12–17 had at least one major depressive episode, up from 14% in 2018.

Fewer children ages 0–17 lived in households with one or more of three housing problems: physically inadequate housing, crowded housing, or a housing cost burden of more than 30% of household income. In 2019, 38% of children ages 0–17 lived in households experiencing one or more of these housing problems, down from 39% in 2017.

Other highlights from this year's report include:

  • Family and Social Environment: In 2020, older children ages 15–17 were less likely to live with two parents (67%) than were younger children ages 6–14 (69%) and ages 0–5 (75%).
  • Economic Circumstances: The poverty rate for all children ages 0–17 decreased from 2018 (16%) to 2019 (14%).
  • Health Care: Among children born in 2016, those in families with incomes below the poverty level1 had lower vaccination coverage with the 7-vaccine series of recommended immunizations for children2 (61%) compared with those in families with incomes at or above the poverty level (73%).
  • Physical Environment and Safety: In 2019, about 51% of children lived in counties with air pollutant concentrations above the Environmental Protection Agency's National Ambient Air Quality Standards at least once during the year.
  • Behavior: Fewer 12th grade students reported smoking cigarettes daily in the past 30 days in 2019 (2%) than in 2018 (4%).
  • Education: The percentage of youth ages 16–19 who were neither enrolled in school nor working increased from 2019 (8%) to 2020 (10%).

This report is published by the Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics and is posted on www.childstats.gov. Single hard copies are available free from the Government Printing Office (8660 Cherry Lane, Laurel, MD 20707; laurelwms@gpo.gov).

1 Following U.S. Office of Management and Budget Statistical Policy Directive 14, poverty status is determined by comparing a family's (or an unrelated individual's) income to one of 48-dollar amounts called thresholds. For further details, see http://www.census.gov/data/tables/time-series/demo/income-poverty/historical-poverty-thresholds.html.

2 The data for the 2016 birth year are from survey years 2017, 2018, and 2019.  The recommended immunization schedule for children is available at http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/easy-to-read/child.html.